Friday, 31 August 2012

A Peak District walk

Why have I got a big grin on my face............

This morning I went to the dentist for my annual check up, and Emma my lovely lady dentist gave a glowing report on the state of my teeth and mouth. These days a good dentist will do a thorough inspection of the whole of the mouth, looking for any signs of dental decay, poor dental hygiene, infections around the tongue or anywhere else, and looking for anything that might need further investigation. Emma asked me all about my teeth cleaning routine, how often, and which toothpaste do I use. I didn't tell her about my experiment with the 30p Value toothpaste, ha ha. She asked do I floss (I do), then said carry on with what you are doing because it works, and gave me a clean bill of health and said come back in a year. YAY :o) I'm chuffed.

Another thing that put a smile on my face today was my combined quarterly gas and electricity bill landing on the doormat. Ok I know it's summer and we shouldn't expect very large bills at this time of the year, but I am always chuffed when the bill is quite small. Cost of electricity is £14.78, and gas is £42.16. With vat at 5% that makes it £58.05. Of course the central heating has not been on at all since earlier in the year, all I use the gas for is cooking on the hob and grill, and a fortnightly bath. Don't worry I am not dead because I don't bath or shower every day, I don't smell because I wash regularly, and as my water is on a meter I save there as well. And think of all the time I am saving by not having to constantly immerse my whole body in water, then dry it off, then clean the bath, and wash all the towels. Win win I say.

Right, what did I do yesterday? And who is this happy chappie in the photo. You never know who you meet in the hills of the Derbyshire Peak District. Haven't the faintest idea what his name is, but he was an everso helpfull Ranger. As you know I met up with Louise yesterday at Crowden on the A628, not far from Glossop. Louise writes this blog  it's all about her walks and her photography, she's a very good photographer, worth a look.

We decided to try one of the walks in the book she brought with her, it seemed like a good idea to go onwards and upwards and get a bit of height for some good views. Not far from the car park is where the Pennine Way takes you up to Black Hill, so we set off in that direction. There was a lot of water gushing down the gulleys and forming big pools on the well worn footpaths, this was making the ground very boggy and tough going at times. Mr Ranger was digging channels to help it on it's way down to the reservoir at the bottom. We stopped to have a sandwich and off he went looking for more pools to dig up.

We got so far up and looked back.

The water was rushing down here in torrents, a bit further upstream we had to cross this. There were a few other people about going in the same direction as us.

The weather started out pretty fine, but then the clouds came over and threatened a massive storm. Thankfully it was only a little storm but enough to make me put my waterproof trousers and jacket on. It got quite windy when we lost the track a bit, but thankfully our friendly Ranger man wasn't too far away, and he could advise us on which way to go. He knew that place like the back of his hand. I know it sounds daft not being able to find the path of one of the most walked footpaths in Englad, but as he said, the bracken has gone wild this year and in some places it has been up to his shoulders. Also there has been that much rainfall parts of the paths have almost been obliterated. I zoomed in a bit on this photo.

This is the same scene but zoomed out.

Ha ha, we met the Ranger man again, so I asked him if he would take our photo. He was a very nice man. Almost like having our personal guide as he pointed things out to us and told us a bit of history about the place. You can see the deep ruts in the ground here.

We had intended to go up to Black Hill and come back down another path in a clockwise direction. Ranger man told us that the ground was even more boggy there and the path not so easy to follow, which put me off a bit. Then we came across a deep stream where the stepping stones were completely submerged and the only way across was to paddle through the cascading water. I made the decision to turn round and go back down the way we came. By this time we had been scrambling, staggering, and stumbling through water, bogs, and rocks for nearly three hours, I was yearning for some flat walking.

We got down to the bottom and went in the opposite direction on the Pennine Way which went alongside Torside Reservoir. There are five reservoirs all in a line along this stretch, and several places to cross them. It was such a relief to be able to put one foot in front of the other without having to look down, and the weather brightened up as well which was a bonus. Here we are at The Hollins where the dam seperates Torside from Rhodeswood. I wonder why they made the weir this shape.

We continued further along on the same side to the next dam. We had intended to follow a dismantled railway line to the next dam along and cross there, but halfway down it we found it hadn't been maintained and it was impossible to continue through the undergrowth. So we turned round and went back and crossed at the previous dam. Now we were on the south bank of the reservoirs and picked up the Trans Pennine Trail which is also the Longdendale Trail. This took us to a few hundred yards past Crowden where we were able to cross back to the north bank via a footbridge.

We came across this woodland, all the young trees had a plaque of rememberance next to them, and there were benches to sit on. There must have been a few hundred trees which have been planted over the years, all in memory of someone who has passed away. What a nice idea.

Almost back now. The road at the top of the photo is a sharp bend on the Main A628. The water cascading down what looks like a water slide at a theme park is coming from the Woodhead Reservoir, the first one in the line of five.

Now you may wonder what this black rabbit is doing wandering loose in the countryside. We thought it was a bit strange too. It was in the car park when we arrived at 9.30am, and it was still there when we got back at 6.30pm. It's anybodys guess how it got there and how long it has been there. Spose it could belong to the Youth Hostel up the road.

I had a smashing day out with Louise, she is as every bit as nice as she appears on her blog. Thank you Louise, you are great company, I really enjoyed our walk.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Back from walking with Louise.

Good evening, is anyone still awake, ha ha. It's time I was getting my head down, I've been out all day walking in the Derbyshire Peak District with Louise. We met up at 9.30 am at Crowden Car Park, and after a few minutes discussion on which route we were going to do we decided to follow a walk in a book Louise had brought with her. Anyway I won't go any further with the story tonight, as I've got some photo's to sort out, I'll put them on tomorrow.

I timed my return journey to get me to Tesco for 8pm, in time for the final mark down. My bill came to just over £8. There was lots of brocolli left on the shelves so I got loads of that, a massive big bunch of bananas for 29p, and did you know that small tins of mushy peas are only 4p. I got eight of those. Probably worth stocking up on them.

I'm off to bed, we walked 11.5 miles today, and I bet Louise is already in bed. Toodle pip.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Lessons on Life

Firstly well done to Connie. She has spent the last two days ploughing through the whole blog, and at last she has caught up with the rest of us. Welcome Connie. I really ought to go back and read some of it myself, but it's such a mammoth task I keep putting it off. I keep thinking I might go back and edit it, polish it up a bit, smooth out some of the rough edges, I am sure to find loads of mistakes. One day I might.

I don't know about you but it feels like a Sunday to me. It's been raining for a good part of the day, so I haven't ventured too far. I popped round the corner to visit Janet and Paul and meet their new pooch, they have adopted a beautiful Irish Red Setter. Dougal is four years old, and a lovely boy.

I wonder what you do for entertainment on the web? Most of us probably read each others blogs, I really enjoy reading what other people are getting up to. I also watch a few TV programmes on the catch up channels, bit of a Coronation Street addict, don't know why, I know it's a load of tosh. I also use the web like a library to look up things I am interested in, and of course I am always studying maps on it as well. There are four forums which I visit, and sometimes post on these, so all of this keeps me busy.

There is one forum I visit a lot because as well as providing me with lots of information on mainly money matters, it is also an eye opener on how other people get through their lives. Some of the posts are about the ups and downs of day to day living, it's like having a good gossip over the garden fence. Sometimes I join in but mostly I don't.

Money Saving Expert covers just about every subject you can think of. As well as the obvious ones of how to get out of debt, or where to get the best bargains. You can also read about relationship problems, family disputes, looking after your pets, and where to find the cheapest hotels. Some of the topics amaze me, nothing it seems is taboo. If you've had a sheltered upbringing, or haven't much idea of how the nuts and bolts of life work, then you can pick up all sorts of information from the people who have been there, done that, and got the teeshirt. Thrown into the mix is the opinions, advice, and the downright amazing responses the original poster gets to his or her initial query.

I sometimes browse through the MSE forum purely for entertainment. Some of the chat is very funny, some of it is whacky, but some of it is very witty and clever. The moderators are always on the ball, and so are some of the regular contributors, they can easily spot a troll a mile off. I am quite impressed sometimes at how they can suss someone out from their previous posts, in completelely different categories, in other parts of the forum. Some of the moderators must have photographic minds, there's not much that gets past them.

There are some parts of the forum I never venture into, obviously topics that I don't need to read up on. Anything with big numbers baffles me so I don't go there. The ones I visit most are Old Style, that's all about ways of cutting back on your day to day living costs, and Food Shopping is another favourite. Another one I read is, Up Your Income, not that I want to up mine but I find it interesting to read some of the ideas that people come up with. Then there is UK Holidays, Days Out, and Entertainment, Motoring and Public transport, and Utilities, all interesting to me.

I quite like the Health Beauty and Fashion Money Saving, mainly because I don't do beauty and fashion, it's interesting to see how people are trying to save money in those departments. There is a topic called No Buying Unnecessary toiletries in whatever month it is. I have to laugh when they post long lists of all the toiletries they already have, it's usually enough to last me a couple of years. They should rename the topic, No Buying Unnecessary toiletries ever again, ha ha.

The, Marriage, Couples, and Family Moneysaving topic is a bit of an eye opener, people post all sorts of personal stuff on there. Some of it is like what you might find on the Marge Proops agony aunt page of a womens magazine, only with a lot more detail. Anyone training to be a marriage guidance counsellor would do well to read this section, if not qualified the case studies would help with future course work.

So, if you want to learn more about life get yourself over to the forum. It's interesting, there is a lot to learn from it, and it makes my life look pretty simple. Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Not many words tonight

Ooops, I'm a bit late tonight, been busy studying maps and walking Rocky. I haven't had time to prepare a post, but I've added another stand alone page to the blog. The link is at the top of this page, it's called Food Gallery. I thought it would be a good idea to put a selection of my meal photo's all in one place. Sorry there aren't any recipes, they are all made up. Use the pics for ideas, think outside the box for your own cooking. Mix and match things and see how it turns out.

I like to use the least amount of pots and pans when preparing meals, because I don't like washing up. I don't use the oven, don't bake, and don't fry things. Mostly my food is steamed or grilled, sometimes done in the slow cooker, and sometimes in the microwave. I never boil vegetables, you lose all the flavour in the water. I use the stick blender on raw and cooked food, to make soups and smoothies. The kitchen is not my favourite place so I try and make my meals simple, I don't enjoy slaving over a hot stove.
Catch you tomorrow. Toodle pip

Monday, 27 August 2012

Keeping the food spending low low low

It's a Bank Holiday Monday and I'm not going anywhere today. I'm not a fan of Bank Holidays, far too many people out and about. I like to take my days out/holidays Monday to Friday if possible. I'm planning a walk with Louise for Thursday in the Peak District, that's if it is not pouring down with rain so we'll keep our fingers crossed for that. The weather has rather put a dampener on things this summer, it's been difficult to avoid it at times.

I have a gap where I can fit in a camping trip with a shopping trolley and a bus pass, that's if the weather is kind. Then I am planning to walk across Britain again, this time starting at Ellesmere Port and walking through Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. My home made coast to coast as I call it, or, from the Mersey to the Humber. This will be done whatever the weather. At this time last year (mid September) I did the River Trent walk and I was lucky with the weather so I am hoping for the same again.

Anyway, are you keeping up with my food diary, the link is at the top of the page. I am still posting my food shopping up there, so you can see what I eat and how much I pay for it. I am not doing a monthly total as I already know from the previous experiment of eating as cheaply as possible, that I can get it down to around about £10 - £12 a week. Anything less than £15 a week I'm happy with, it keeps it within my budget. When I say food diary I mean just the food I put in my mouth at home or pack ups. I very rarely buy any food out, maybe fish and chips twice a year, and I just can't bring myself to go into a cafe or restaurant. If I haven't planned very well and feel a bit peckish I will pop into a shop and buy a cheap tummy filler over the counter. I never buy bottles or cans of fizzy drinks, or even the supposedly healthy drinks, they are too expensive and have far too much sugar in them.

Some people add on toiletries, household cleaning products, and pet food to their shopping list. I don't, I have a seperate budget for these. My use of toiletries is negligable. I am still using up the home made soap which I used to sell seven years ago. Sales dropped dramatically and I was left with stock I couldn't sell. I buy the cheapest shampoo and moisturisers, and  use them sparingly so they last a very long time, sometimes years. I don't bother with anything fancy just the basics. My last deodorant is what my sister gave me four years ago, I keep forgetting to use it. I find a wash under the armpits works just as well. No perfume, I hate it when you walk by someone and are almost choked by the powerfull fumes coming from them. And have you ever walked by a house when the occupants have just let the bathwater down the drain? The whole street is enveloped in perfume, what a waste of money. I just like to feel clean and not smelling of anything at all.

My household cleaning budget is also negligable. I mainly use diluted wash up liquid in an old spray bottle, does the job as well as any expensive gunge you can buy for lots of pounds. Some people are hung up on zapping every square inch of surface with powerful chemicals. Hot mildly soapy water will do the job. I do buy cheap bleach for the toilets, but use it very sparingly, maybe four small bottles a year. A regular scrub with a brush keeps them sweet. My other indulgence is two cans of spray polish a year. No I don't want to use vinegar and newspaper for the windows, I don't have any newspapers and I don't buy vinegar. I maybe dust and polish the furniture about once every three or four months, so my two cans a year are more than enough, and I can afford them.

The cats? Well they get what they need, but I always look for reductions/special offers. They have a treat now and again. This week they had a whole cooked chicken, it was reduced from £4 to £1. I didn't enjoy pulling it to bits, the things I do for love. There was enough for Rocky as well.

Anyway, enough of the waffle. I bought these deli wraps for 27p, reduced from £1.80. There's no way I would pay full price for them. Wraps seem to be the 'in' food at the moment. I can't see why, they're only like thin bread that you wrap your filling in like a parcel. It all goes down the same way. But they were cheap so lets have a go at wrapping.

My filling was... cook some sliced mushrooms in olive oil spread, (I don't buy butter), add half a teaspoon of grainy mustard, half a tin of chick peas, splash of lemon juice (out of  a bottle) and a big teaspoon of soft cheese spread with garlic. Cook on low gas for a few minutes. Just before it's ready break an egg into it and mix it in allowing the egg to scramble. It firms the mixture up.

Spread the wraps with the same cheese and garlic spread. Put half the mixture in the centre of each wrap and add half a sliced fresh tomato. Wrap up and zap in the microwave for 30 seconds, lettuce to garnish. I eat it with a knife and fork. My posh sandwich was lovely.

Thought I would show you this cauliflower, look at the size of it. I know, you can't expect much when it is a Value item, but flippin eck, it's miniscule. Original price 79p, I paid 20p. I love cauli, enough here for two meals, mixed in with other veg.

I dug my spuds up yesterday, a very disappointing crop. Probably my fault because I didn't water them enough, and my compost might be tired out now and need feeding, and the weather hasn't been good for veg growing this year. Never mind, better than a slap in the face with a wet flannel, ha ha.

On the other hand I have a good crop of runner beans and courgettes, I'm eating these every day. Every little helps. It's a shame that my cucumbers are late, there are loads of flowers on the plants, but I fear we may run out of summer before they have a chance to produce. I live in hope and keep watering them.

Got to go, time for Rocky walk. Enjoy your Bank Holiday Monday. Toodle pip.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Refurbishing a cat scratching post

I have been meaning to do something about this for a while now. After a lifetime of use, this scratching post is way past it's best. It came with Bugsybaby about 16 years ago, and he has been constantly using it ever since. Lily and Freddie both used it, as does black cat Garcia who is a daily visitor. So you can see it has been just about mauled to death. So, what to do with it?

A new one can cost anything from £10 up to nearly £100, depending on how elaborate it is. I don't want to pay that so I'll have a go at refurbishing it. It's a simple design so it shouldn't be too dificult.

First I stripped off all the rope. This is sissal rope which can be purchased seperately if you wish to restore it back to it's new state. I don't want to spend any money at all on it. I could use the nylon rope I already have, left over from my roping and sheeting days, but I think I'll use an easier method. I was going to leave the base cover in tact and cover over it, but I decided to strip the green away from the board as well.

My first thought was to recover the base with carpet, but I found the hessian backed offcut I had was far too thick and stiff to fold around the edges. A thinner, cheaper, rubbery backed piece would have been better, but I don't have any. So I used a piece of upholstery fabric which I got from the Scrapstore. I started off by using staples to fasten it down, my friend kindly lent me an upholstery stapler gun. Then I ran out of staples so had to finish it off with small nails with a large head.

Next I cut a square from a piece of  lightweight carpet, slightly bigger than the top, folded down the edges and stapled it in place.

There was enough carpet to cover the whole pole. I decided to overlap the join and fasten with nails. This would have been too thick to secure with staples, if I had any left. It doesn't look very pretty, but it does the job. I can put the join against the wall so it isn't noticeable. I'm sure the cats couldn't care less what it looks like, and as this isn't a posh home it doesn't have to match the decor, ha ha.

So there we go, a refurbished cat scratcher. All I've got to do now is teach the kittykats how to use it, and hope they will stop pulling my stair carpet apart.

That was easy, might try making a new one now. Meeeow.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Two inches long, and fat

Oh my word, Heidi cat brought this into the kitchen today! What a whoppa. What is she going to bring in next, I dread to think!

It was about two inches long, and fat.

Friday, 24 August 2012

I've joined the trolley dollies

Hiya. Little Rosie wants pics of my new shopping trolley so here goes. I was in Westgate Store on Tuesday and saw they had two of these in. Westgate is part of the Co op chain so I don't usually go in because everything is so pricey, but worth a look as I couldn't find what I wanted anywhere else. They were priced up at £22.99 (I hate 99p), on special offer from a recommended retail price of £44.99. No way are they worth that, but at the sale price it's a maybe from me.

When I went back yesterday I was chuffed to see they were having a '10% off' day on everything in the store, so even better. I paid £20 69, and they only had one left. Some trolleys are quite small and flimsy, I wanted a larger one where I didn't have to stoop when I dragged it behind me. As you can see the handle comes almost up to my waist.

I also needed one with robust wheels, but without paying a fortune for it. Checking prices on the web they can go up to around £100, yikes! The spec doesn't give a recommended loaded weight, but I suppose it's like everything else, if you abuse something and it isn't the de luxe version you could hit problems if you tried to push your luck. I think these wheels will be ok for me. I am still toying with the idea of using it for a camping trip using the bus pass. Can't do it in the next ten days or so though because I am busy.

It has a zip pocket at the back.

And a drawstring top. I can see a problem with water getting in if I have it fully loaded and get caught in a downpour. I might make an ajdustment, an extra lid which fits over the sides, like a skirt. The fabric appears to be waterproof but I can always put things in plastic bags as I pack it.

And if I wanted to use the little trolley for transporting bulky packages I can always remove the bag. Neat.

Right, onto photography. Wean asks how did I take the picture of me reading the Dyson Manual. They were my hands Wean. When I took this one I put the camera on my window sill which is about the right height to snap me sitting in my office chair. I set the timer and a red light flashes for ten seconds then it clicks the shutter. The problem with living alone is that there is no one else to help with the picture taking. If I want to make a video with me on it I have to start it off and run round to the front of the camera, or set it up and sit still in front of it.

Instead of buying an expensive tripod to help set up the shots, I came up with this idea, a way to hold the camera safely in position without it falling over. Line it all up and you've got ten seconds to get yourself in the picture. A piece of box shaped polystyrene packaging, with two slots cut into it with a stanley or craft knife, to place the camera into depending whether you are taking landscape or portrait. Don't make the slots too big or the camera will slip too far down into them, you want a tight fit. Also be carefull not to make the landscape slot too deep so the lens is not fouled. Switch the camera on before you insert it.

The clean Dyson has been road tested, or should I say carpet tested, and yes I can report that it appears to suck a lot better than it did. So thank you Mark for nudging me in the right direction, I probably wouldn't have done it without your nagging, ha ha, only joking.

Right, lunch time, but I'll take Rocky out first.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Save £20, spend £23

Oh alright then, I give in. Several of you told me in a previous post that I should clean my Dyson, after I had a phone call from someone trying to get me to book a service for it. I cut the salesman off in his prime and declared that I don't pay for servicing my appliance, it either works or it doesn't work. When it breaks I will get it fixed.

Then yesterday Mark asked to use it to suck the dust out of the back of my computer. He then went on to tell me that he had to take his Dyson apart and clean every single piece of it before it gets packed into a container for it's journey to Australia. Apparently there are strict rules about anything coming into the country has to be squeeky clean to elliminate contamination and the spread of disease. He said they inspect every single item before they will let it in.

He showed me how easy it is to remove the filter. He struggled a bit with mine as it had ten years of dust build up in there, ha ha. Ok ok Mark, I get the picture, you don't have to spell it out to me, I know I am a lazy slob where maintenance is concerned. Right, where is the instruction manual.

I am one of those people who never reads instructions, I want to push a button and hey presto it works. I don't want to have to read up on which button to press, just press them all till I find the right one.

I think the table in the garden is the best place for this job, there is dust everywhere.

Good day for doing this, it's sunny with a slight breeze. All bits are clean now.

Just got to wait for the filter to dry out, and then I will be able to suck away to my hearts content. Seems a shame to start using it really, it will get all mucky again. Maybe a good reason not to do the Dysoning, ha ha.

You'll never guess what happened! While I was eating my lunch the phone rang, a woman from a Service Centre asked me about my Dyson. I couldn't believe it, what a coincidence. I'm sure she didn't believe me when I said I wouldn't be needing her service as I had just done it myself. She said they do a full and thorough service for £20. I was telling her how easy it was, when she put the phone down on me in mid sentence, cheeky woman.

Anyway, the moral of this story is, that as I have saved myself £20, I now feel justified in purchasing a shopping trolley for £23, which I have seen in a shop in town. I have been looking for a second hand one for ages but I have to give up because there aren't any about. Those who buy them new are keeping them. I've had my eye on this one for about a week, it's the right size and looks robust enough for the job. I have looked on the internet at prices but it is very difficult to see the quality in those small pictures, and they seem quite expensive anyway. The one in town is in a sale, so it's quite a good buy. Think I'll go and get it.
Toodle pip.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Flower Show Up North

Thank you all for your comments on yesterdays post, they're much appreciated.

Phew, that's better, I'm back on the big computer. Mark has been this morning and sorted everything out for me, he is a treasure. I don't know what I'm going to do without him when he leaves for a new life in Australia in October :o(  I'm not going to be selfish and say I wish he wasn't going. He is doing the best for his family, and I wish them all the luck in the world. I hope they have a great life, but I will miss him because he is my friend as well as my computer fixer. So good luck Mark and his family.

I thought a few pretty pretty pics are needed here to brighten the blog up. Let's have some colour. I've been keeping my eyes open whilst walking around the village, looking for nice flower displays in front gardens. Some people make a great effort it makes the village look lovely at this time of year, and I certainly appreciate it as do many others I should imagine.

So here we go, I have tried not to identify the house, focussing more on the flowers. Hope you like them.

Toodle pip, catch you tomorrow

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Just little me.

Tonight I am feeling chuffed, quite a lot chuffed in fact, I would go as far as saying I am flippin dead chuffed with what I have done today, and what I have achieved in my life. I left school in 1964 with no qualifications, I wasn't particularly brainy so I went into shop work, office work, and factory work. Then I went into manual work, and carried on working for the next 45 years.

My mum taught me how to look after my money, to save up for things and not to spend money I didn't have. She took half my wages for board and lodging from day one, I didn't mind because I knew she was constantly struggling to make ends meet. My first wage was £3.10shillings for five days at a small leather shop. I didn't like the job so I moved on to working at Woolworths.

I come from an ordinary working class family, everyone had jobs and worked for their money. Nobody ever went to university, there were no clever bods in our family. I left home at eighteen to strike out on my own, to get a flat, and work to pay my way. When hit 27 I started earning a bit more money so I bought my first house. It was a small terrace house which needed a lot of work doing to it. It had wet rot, dry rot, needed a complete rewire, the floorboards ripping up and new concrete floors laid, and a new roof. It was several years before it finally got decorated, it had completely skint me, all my money had gone on it.

But I just got on with it, and a few years later I was able to afford to move into a three bedroom semi detached with a garage. This was a big improvement, but I was skint again because I had put down the biggest deposit I could afford. It needed new windows and a new front door which I couldn't afford, but I managed to secure a £3,000 interest free loan from a very kind friend. It took me two years to pay that back. It needed a new kitchen so I bought the units and fitted most of it myself except for the sink which a plumber did.

Then I moved 100 miles away into my third house, and once again put all the money I had from the sale of the previous house, down as a deposit, which was half of the full price. So I was skint again. Not to worry, I managed. I kept on working and was able to pull myself up with my boot straps once more. There was a slight blip when I slipped back down the ladder again. I needed to get a better car as mine was a wreck. I had no spare cash so I remortgaged.  Eventually things picked up and I managed to make some over payments on my mortgage.

Fast forward to 2008 when I had to stop work and have an operation. I wasn't able to claim sick pay from my employer because I was an agency worker on short term contract, even though I was with the same company for seven years. I tried to claim sick pay from the government but they wriggled their way out of paying me anything, so I had twelve weeks with no money and my savings almost gone. After fighting my corner they did agree I was entitled to some pay, which was a pittance. Then my job disappeared, the depot closed, so I limped to towards retirement in May 2009, on job seekers allowance. Again, my bank balance was at rock bottom, I was just scraping by.

By this time I was an expert at living within my means, I had to be it was either sink or swim and I wasn't about to sink. In fact the less money I have the more I enjoy the challenge, weird I know, but if you aint got any you don't have to worry about it, that's the way I look at it.

So why am I chuffed tonight? In September 2010 I was able to make an over payment of £1,000 on my mortgage, in September 2011 I did the same again, and today, yep you got it, I took a cheque into Santander for £1,000. I feel like I am coming towards the end of an incredible journey. I'm not there yet, still got a bit left to pay, but now I am on the last leg sprinting towards the finishing line. Maybe I won't sprint, maybe I'll stroll, after all, things can only get better.

I am so proud that I have done all this by myself. No rich relatives to leave me any money, no big wins, I am not a gambler anyway, and no husband to pool my money with. Just little me.
Toodle pip.     

Scott McKenzie.....thank you for the memories

I've just read that Scott McKenzie passed away on Saturday, and it's made me a bit sad. His music played a big part in my life in the sixties, I was a hippy with flowers in my hair. I was living in Blackpool at the time, a free spirit in a little bed sit, having the time of my life. My days off from working on the Pleasure Beach were spent wandering along the Promenade, going to beach parties, shopping, and enjoying the fashions and the music, and the boys. Thank you Scott McKenzie, you bring back a lot of good memories for me.

Monday, 20 August 2012

A bit of extra padding needed

Hi again, I thought I would slip this in while I think about it. Remember the two padded sleeves I made to wrap around the straps on my rucksack? They were supposed to make it more comfortable on my boney shoulders. Well, they never really worked very well, they are too bulky. I ended up stitching some extra padding directly onto the straps, which is much better.

So what to do with them The arm rests on my office chair are not padded, just hard plastic and not very comfortable at all. Brainwave! They fit perfectly and are fastened together with press studs. Now I can sit comfortably and watch the catch up TV without getting sore elbows. By the way, the mesh backrest was a good buy from Poundland, makes the chair so much more comfortable. I'm going to get another one for the car.

Easy to make, you could make some to fit any chair with hard arm rests.

Toodle pip

Making new stuff from old

Kath has set me a challenge, to use every bit of the green hoodie, so I put my thinking cap on and came up with the idea of making a small childs cuddly toy. There is only one way of using up every scrap and that is by cutting up the seams into very small pieces and stuffing it into something.

I turned the hood into a tea cosy shape, then cut an oval shape for the base, and made two little feet. The face is some spongy type coloured letters, I bought a plastic tub of them from a car boot sale for 30p, knew I would find a use for them one day. I cut a few strands of the fleece to make hair and opened up the seam on the top of it's head to push them through and insert a few stitches to keep them in place.

I had to add some foam to the stuffing as there wasn't enough. The only part I haven't used for this project is the zip. I could have done but as this is for a small child I wanted to keep everything soft to minimise the risk of injury. The zip can be used later for something else.

So there we are, a small childs cudly toy, it stands 7 inches high and is 6.5 inches across.

A good example of recycling, upcycling, repurposing, or whatever you want to call it. Making something new, from second hand. Using materials that might have been thrown out, and given them a new lease of life. From this. . . . .

. . . . to this.

Have fun recycling, what ideas can you come up with, tell me I want to know. Toodle pip.